ABS36194

Impact of genetic variation on spring bud phenology of young Sitka spruce and implications for growth performance


  • Oral Presentation
  • Forestry and Horticulture
  • 12 Jun 2018 15:20
  • FS-G01, UCD Agriculture and food science Centre
  • View all IPSAM abstracts

Ignacio Sevillano*
1 UCD Forestry, School of Agriculture and Food Science, University College Dublin, D04 V1W8, Dublin, Ireland

Brian Tobin
1 UCD Forestry, School of Agriculture and Food Science, University College Dublin, D04 V1W8, Dublin, Ireland

Conor O'Reilly
1 UCD Forestry, School of Agriculture and Food Science, University College Dublin, D04 V1W8, Dublin, Ireland

*Presenting Author


It is essential that planting stock of forest species is genetically suited to local growing conditions. While the use of genetically improved material might be an effective way to enhance timber quality and productivity, as well as enhancing resilience of forest material to cope with adverse conditions, tree breeding can only be justified with species that will deliver sufficient returns to justify the investment, such as Sitka spruce (Picea sitchensis) in Ireland. The phenology of budburst development in nine improved families and an unimproved control of Sitka spruce at age six was studied to determine the potential implications of drought stress on tree growth and recovery from drought stress. The drought was applied to trees of each family for two years, while other trees of each family were not subjected to drought. The plant material subjected to drought has been allowed to recover (full irrigation) from 2015. The ability of the drought-stressed trees to recover from drought may be a measure of resilience. While the date of budburst of the terminal bud of the leading shoot did not differ between families or previous drought conditions, the date of budburst of the lateral branches varied significantly between families. Height growth differed between families and was greater in trees that previously received drought stress than in those grown under optimal water conditions since potting. In contrast, neither family nor previous drought treatment affected diameter growth. Although no relationship was found between the timing of budburst and growth rates for Sitka spruce at this stage, further research will provide the opportunity to investigate the effects of differences in the timing of budburst and growth cessation of individual trees and families on annual growth performance of Sitka spruce.